Duval superintendent a substitute while teachers rallied in Tallahassee

Dr. Dianna Greene worked in classroom Monday at Gregory Drive Elementary School

Superintendent of Duval County Public Schools (DCPS) Dr. Diana Greene works with a third-grade student at Gregory Drive Elementary School. (DCPS)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – More than 900 Duval County Public Schools teachers requested Monday off, with many of them joining the thousands of educators marching in Florida’s Capitol in support of better teacher pay and more education funding.

The district called in 800 substitute teachers to work in classrooms Monday, according to the school district — about 300 subs more than were needed the week before. One of those substitute teachers was superintendent Dr. Dianna Greene who led a class at Gregory Drive Elementary School on Monday.

Greene, who likes to pick at least one day to substitute teach, told News4Jax that Monday happened to be a good day to do it because many of her educators would be in Tallahassee. In a statement, Greene said she wanted to show that she supports her teachers’ right to demonstrate.

"I just wanted to let teachers know symbolically that I’m here to support them,” Dr. Greene said. “It’s just a way for me to give back to the people who are supporting our children each day. I encourage anyone to spend time in a school; whether you’re coming as a volunteer or you are a substitute teacher it’s a great opportunity to see what our teachers do each and every day.”

Gregory Drive Elementary Principal AuGena Sapp welcomed Greene with open arms.

“I just got home from an AMAZING day!,” Sapp wrote in a Facebook post. “Our Superintendent, Dr. Dianna Greene, was a substitute teacher for one of my teachers who attended the rally in Tallahassee today. SHE WAS AWESOME! Let me assure you... SHE KNOWS HER STUFF AND HAS A HEART OF GOLD! I am so grateful that we had the opportunity to witness our leader pull up her sleeves to lend support. She is now an official GDE Dolphin!”

I just got home from an AMAZING day! Our Superintendent, Dr. Dianna Greene, was a substitute teacher for one of my...

Posted by AuGena Sapp on Monday, January 13, 2020

As Greene led students in a third-grade classroom, a crowd estimated at over 10,000 pressed Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Legislature to more than double the nearly $1 billion the governor is proposing for teacher raises and bonuses.

Officials with Duval Teachers United said the average salary for Florida teachers is $48,168, falling well below the national average of $60,477. They said low pay is causing a widespread teacher shortage in the Sunshine State. What’s more, union leaders said, Florida is ranked 43rd for total public education funding.

While Greene was public with her support of Duval teachers, the Tampa Bay Times reported that Polk County teachers received an email Friday from the Florida Department of Education that seemed to threaten their jobs if they attended the rally, a story that caught the attention of presidential hopefuls Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

About the Author:

Digital reporter who has lived in Jacksonville for more than 25 years and focuses on important local issues like education and the environment.